Baldur von Schirach, born on 09-03-1907 in Weimar. His mother was American and for his first five years he spoke English before learning German. In 1917, Schirach joined a military cadet unit and he joined the Nazi Party in 1925. Schirach first met Hitler (see Did you know) and Rudolf Hess in 1926 and the future Fuhrer took to him and advised Schirach to move to Munich if he was to advance his position within the party. In 1929, Hitler appointed Schirach head of the National Socialists Students’ League. In 1931, he was promoted to head the youth movement in the Nazi Party and in 1933 became the head of Hitler Youth. Schirach himself viewed the youth of Germany with the same importance as Hitler (see Hitler). He wrote that “the NSDAP is the party of youth” and he frequently compared the honesty and freshness of the nation’s youth with the corruption and ‘oldness’ of Weimar Germany. “Youth had right, hope and the future on its side: age had death.” (Joachim Fest) “Faust, the Ninth Symphony and the will of Adolf Hitler are eternal youth and know neither time nor transience.” Fest claims that the fledgling Nazi Party specifically targeted the disillusioned youth of Weimar Germany – those who has seen the failure of past regimes and old political parties in the horrors of the first war and the chaos witnessed during the years of the Weimar government.
It was Schirach’s task to focus their energy totally and completely towards Hitler as, in the words of Rudolf Hess (see Hess
), “Hitler is Germany and Germany is Hitler”. Nazi education policy and post-school activities all came within Schirach’s remit – or at the least within his influence. His book ‘Revolution in Education’ (1938) was a clear statement of intent as to what he wanted from the Nazi education system. Schirach was a devoted Nazi and in 1940 he volunteered to join the army and fought in France where he won the Iron Cross. However, he was recalled to Germany. No longer in charge of Hitler Youth, Schirach was appointed Gauleiter of Vienna. He was succeeded by Arthur Axmann (see Axmann
), In Vienna he oversaw the deportation of Jews, it is estimated that Schirach oversaw the deportation of 185,000 Austrian Jews, which in 1942 he stated was a contribution to the culture of Europe. At the end of World War II, Schirach was arrested and put on trial at Nuremburg. Like Albert Speer,(see Speer
) during his trial he denounced Hitler. This may have saved him from being hanged – though his defence also pointed out that he had in 1943 protested about the conditions Jews were kept in; protests that were ignored. On 01-10-1946, Schirach was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to twenty years in prison. He served his full term and was released in September 1966.
Von Schirach was married with Henriette Hoffmann (see Henriette
) the daughter of Hitler’s photographer Heinrich Hoffmann (see Heinrich
), Hitler and Röhm (see Röhm
) were the witnesses, and they got 4 children, three sons and one daughter. Klaus, Robert und Richard
and daughter Angelika Benedikta.
While in prison on 20-07-1949, Henriette wanted a divorce, because of another man, but still tried to get Baldur free from prison, without result.
Asserted is that von Schirach was bisexual..
In his biography 'Ich Glaubte an Hitler' "I Believed in Hitler", von Schirach denied all charges of his knowledge of the murder and tortures in de concentration and extermination camps. Schirach spent the rest of his life in Kröv and died lonely in his sleep in a small hotel in Kröv an der Mösel
on 08-08-1974, age 66.